Why Allyson Lewis created The 7 Minute Life Daily Progress Report
The stack of paper on the top left-hand corner of my desk measured more than six inches high. Another stack almost two feet high was hiding under my desk. Every drawer oozed disorganization. Business was booming, but I was crumbling.
The physical clutter in my life overwhelmed me, as did my over- loaded schedule. As much as I worked, I never felt I was doing enough. Guilt and frustration consumed me: I didn’t have time to finish it all, to hang out with my growing kids, or enjoy my relationship with my husband.
I desperately wanted:
The idea for the first 7 Minute Life time management worksheet grew out of an attempt to solve the problem and reduce my stress level. I needed a simple written daily plan of action, so I divided a single piece of paper into a few sections:
- Top Priorities
- Tasks (this was like a primitive to-do list)
- Voice Mail Messages
- Notes about my day
Each afternoon at the end of my workday, I took a few minutes to create a simple written plan for what I wanted to accomplish the next day. And I left this page of paper on my desk, so it was the first thing I saw the next morning.
Slowly, this simple process helped me prioritize the actions that needed to be tended to first. As time passed, I found I was able to organize all of the tasks that had seemed so overwhelming. Though some days I still couldn’t complete every task on my list every day, the clarity the list gave me helped me accomplish more than I had before. And finally, after several months of dedicating myself to writing down what I wanted to do, I learned to simplify my time and focus my efforts and attention on accomplishing the projects that were most important.
This productivity planning empowered me to reconnect with my life. It enabled me to capture the “highest and best” use of my time each day. It freed me to spend more time with my family at home and to accomplish more productive work in the office. Using a single sheet of paper and taking literally seven minutes each afternoon to create my daily written plan of action changed my life forever. Through this time management strategy, I was replacing procrastination and chaos with order.
Through the years, that piece of paper has morphed into one of the most effective time management tools in the 7 Minute Life. Go to Time Management Tools link, and print out your first daily progress report worksheet. Take a few minutes to write down a few of your day’s top priorities, or what we call the 5 before 11 List. This is the first step to living the The 7 Minute Life.
This is an edited excerpt from The 7 Minute Solution: Time Strategies to Prioritize, Organize, and Simplify your Life at Work & at Home (Simon & Schuster)